Malta joins international agreement on private military and security companies

FILE PHOTO: Firearms and accessories are displayed at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Malta has officially declared its participation to the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC), thus becoming the 57th supporting state.

The due process was undertaken through Malta’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Chris Grima, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The Montreux Document was the result of an initiative launched by Switzerland and by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2006. As its full name suggests, it seeks to highlight international legal obligations and good practices related to the use of private military and security companies during armed conflict.

It contains some 70 recommendations, urging states to verify the track record of the companies, examine the procedures used to vet their staff, and to take concrete measures to ensure that personnel of PMSCs can be prosecuted when serious breaches of the law occur.

The ministry highlighted that PMSCs have been booming since the end of the Cold War and are being used on an extensive scale in various conflicts, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.

The ministry noted that a number of such companies are reportedly present in Libya, with mercenaries actively working for different parties and militias in the conflict.

It added that on the request of the Libyan government, Malta has been assisting in de-mining areas which have continued to claim victims regularly, mainly children.